Feb 04 2012
Last evening, I attended the media preview of Diana: A Celebration, an exhibition that opens today at Mall of America. It was interesting to learn more about Princess Diana and to see pieces of her life, including her famed wedding dress with its 25-foot train.
Fans of Diana will delight in seeing artifacts from her childhood, viewing some of the beautiful gowns she wore on various occasions, and ooohing and aahing at the wedding dress that was viewed by an estimated 1 billion people when she married Prince Charles.
The exhibit begins with family jewels–tiaras and bracelets and necklaces that sparkle with diamonds and pearls and emeralds galore. It then moves to Diana’s childhood, providing a feeling of normalcy as you see the appointment book with its note of “Driving Test. Passed!”, a note to her parents when they were away from home, and some of the toys she played with as a child.
Diana’s wedding gown is in the center of the exhibit, along with shoes, a parasol, and a flower girl dress. Being able to see the detail of the gown, and just how long a 25-foot train is, will be the focal point of the exhibit for many people.
The Diana exhibit moves from Diana’s wedding to her death abruptly, with no mention made of the years between these two events in her life. Although her brother’s funeral tribute speech alludes to some troubled times during this period, they are unmentioned here. Of interest in the funeral room are lyrical and musical drafts of Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind” tribute to Diana at her funeral.
A room full of gowns Diana wore on various occasions is impressive; though a few show their time period clearly, most are timelessly beautiful, and the exhibit describes the times and places in which they were worn, as well as naming the designer of each.
A wall of tribute books contains cards, letters, and other remembrances sent to Diana’s family after her passing.
At the end of the exhibit, there is a souvenir area that includes china pieces, jewelry, and other mementos of the exhibition for those who want to take home something related to Diana.
Diana: A Celebration can be found on the 4th level, East Side, of Mall of America through June 12, 2012.
Though fans of Diana in particular or royalty in general will enjoy this exhibition, families may wish to leave their children behind. Everything is enclosed in glass, so there will be no danger of children damaging things, but there is also nothing interactive about the exhibit save for a few continuous-loop silent video clips. My friend and I spent about an hour learning about Diana, reading nearly every placard and informational post. Others will spend a shorter amount of time, making it easy to get a peek of Diana during a shopping trip or other outing to Mall of America.